Inventory of Shared Water Resources in Western Asia

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This publication is the first UN-led effort to make a comprehensive assessment of the state of transboundary surface and groundwater resources in the Middle East. It follows a standardized structure, with eight surface water chapters and 19 groundwater chapters that systematically address hydrology, hydrogeology, water resources development and use, international water agreements and transboundary water management efforts. The chapters cover all rivers and groundwater resources shared between Arab countries in the Middle East and include data on water resources that are shared with Iran, Israel and Turkey. Boasting over 50 new maps and 200 figures, tables and boxes with recent, comprehensive data series, the Inventory provides an up-to-date view of the state and evolution of shared water resources in the region.



Key findings

This Inventory of Shared Water Resources in Western Asia is the first systematic effort to catalogue and characterize shared surface and groundwater resources across the Middle East. It provides detailed information on 7 shared river basins including numerous shared tributaries, and it identifies 22 shared aquifer systems in the region. For each of the described shared freshwater bodies, the Inventory addresses key aspects of hydrology, hydrogeology and water resources development and use, and examines the status of international water agreements and cross-border management efforts. As a descriptive reference document on shared waters in the region, the Inventory’s main purpose is to provide a sound scientific basis for informing further discussion and analysis at the basin level. The main finding of this work is the identification of all the major shared surface water basins and aquifer systems in Western Asia, as listed in Tables 1 and 2 below. In addition to identifying the number of shared water basins that are found in Western Asia, the 10 key findings below highlight important general and region-specific observations related to the state and assessment of shared water resources. These key findings synthesize and consolidate some of the main issues regarding the identification, state, use and management of shared water resources. In doing so, they offer ideas for further research into shared water resources and provide insights into how the Inventory can inform complementary research in the other important areas of concern for the region, such as climate change, food security, the water and energy nexus, and efforts to achieve sustainable development.


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